Lt. Col. Harold A. Tongson is Commander at the 353rd Recruiting Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command, March Air Reserve Base, California. He commands a squadron consisting of 103 personnel to annually recruit 2,400 Citizen Airmen. He is responsible for an operations budget of $500,000, 64 government vehicles, and 22 offices geographically separated across three countries, one U.S. Territory and 17 States. Additionally, Lt. Col. Tongson advises the 4th Air Force Commander, 21 Wing commanders and the 367th Recruiting Group Commander regarding recruiter production issues, trends, and barriers. He leads solution-oriented and innovative Airmen to inspire, engage, and recruit future Air Force Reservists.
Lt. Col. Tongson’s career spans a variety of leadership positions at the squadron, group, major command, and Air Staff levels while on Active Duty and for the Air Force Reserve. His first assignment as a Personnel Officer was supporting the reactivation of the 55th Rescue Squadron (HH-60G) at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz., where he accomplished all personnel actions to gain and manage assigned members for the newly activated combat rescue squadron. He went on to serve as Squadron Section Commander, Group and Wing Executive Officer, and Military Personnel Flight Commander before separating from the Regular Air Force and joining the Air Force Reserve in 2011.
As an Air Force Reservist, Lt. Col. Tongson has served as a Traditional Reservists (TR), an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA), as well as an Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) Airman. Additionally, he has served as a Section Chief, Flight Commander, Branch Chief, Division Chief at the Air Reserve Personnel Center, and Air Staff Officer in the Pentagon. His experience includes developing strategic policy for Reserve assignments, separations, retirements as well as joint officer management. He has played an integral part in developing policy for combat wounded Airmen suffering from invisible wounds as well as establishing the Space Force and Reserve Component integration as part of the 2019 Space Force Planning Task Force. Lt. Col. Tongson has two combat deployments to Iraq.
2002 Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, California State University - Sacramento, Sacramento, Calif.
2003 Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2007 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2018 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence
2018 Master of Military Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1. June 2002 – March 2003, awaiting pilot training, 414th Combat Training Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
2. March 2003 – April 2003, Student, undergraduate pilot training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
3. May 2003 – September 2006, Officer in Charge, Commander’s Support Staff, 55th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. (April – 2005, 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, Balad Air Base, Iraq)
4. October 2006 – July 2007, Section Commander, 35th Component Equipment Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan
5. August 2007 – March 2008, Executive Officer, 35th Mission Support Group, Misawa AB, Japan
6. April 2008 – December 2008, Commander, Military Personnel Flight, 35th Force Support Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan
7. January 2009 – August 2010, Executive Officer, 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa AB, Japan (December 2009 – July 2010, Staff Officer, United States Forces – Iraq, Joint Staff – Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Baghdad, Iraq)
8. September 2010 – June 2011, Flight Commander, 2nd Manpower Requirements Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
9. July 2011 – August 2011, Non-obligatory, Individual Ready Reserve
10. September 2011 – August 2013, Officer in Charge, Military Personnel Section, 459th Force Support Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
11. September 2011 – October 2015, Flight Commander, Sustainment Flight, 459th Force Support Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
12. November 2015 – August 2017, Chief, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley AFB, Colo.
13. September 2017 – July 2020, Assignment and Joint Officer Management, HAF/REP, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
14. August 2020 – July 2022, Chief, Assignment Division, Air Reserve Personnel Center, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Headquarters ARPC, Buckley AFB, Colo.
15. August 2022 – Present, Commander, 353rd Recruiting Squadron, March ARB, Calif.
1. December 2009 – July 2010, Staff Officer, Strategy Directorate (J5), United States Forces – Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq, as a captain
2. November 2014 – August 2017, Chief, Air Force Reserve Military Personnel Section, Manpower and Personnel Directorate (J1), Kelley Barracks, AFRICOM, Germany, as a captain
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air and Space Commendation Medal
Air and Space Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Citation with gold border
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with service star
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal with gold border
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 29, 2002
First Lieutenant May 29, 2004
Captain Oct. 21, 2006
Major Oct. 21, 2013
Lieutenant Colonel Oct. 1, 2020
(Current as of August 2022)